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Unseen Battlefield Of The Historic Preservation of Midway Atoll

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Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, a secluded gem within the United States Minor Outlying Islands, tells a compelling tale of resilience and historical preservation.

This tranquil haven, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), has witnessed significant ecological and historical transformations.

In this episode I uncover that amid its scenic beauty and ecological importance, the atoll harbored a silent menace—lead contamination, a relic from its storied past.

The Historical Challenge

The lead contamination at Midway Atoll, primarily on Sand Island, traces back to buildings constructed in the early 1900s.

Studies conducted from the late 1980s to 2009 revealed that Laysan albatross chicks exhibited symptoms of lead toxicity due to ingestion of lead-based paint (LBP) chips.

These studies underscored the urgent need for a comprehensive and environmentally safe remediation solution.

By 2010, only 24 out of 95 contaminated buildings had undergone remediation, with costs exceeding $841,000.

Enter Award Winning GLOBAL Encasement, Inc (GEI).

The restoration and preservation efforts at Midway Atoll required a solution that was not only effective but also environmentally conscious.

GLOBAL Encasement, Inc. emerged as a pivotal player in this mission.

For over 30-years their innovative, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly coating solutions have offered the perfect answer to the daunting challenge of LBP remediation.

The Solution: GEI LeadLock™ Coatings

GLOBAL Encasement's products were meticulously selected to encase the lead-based paint on the historic officer quarters and other buildings.

Their LeadLock™ coatings provided several critical benefits:

• Durability: The coatings are resistant to the harsh conditions of the atoll, including salt sea spray and damaging UV rays.
• Eco-friendly: With zero VOCs and non-toxic properties, these coatings aligned perfectly with the environmental goals of the FWS.
• Cost-effective: The unique ability of the coatings to minimize surface preparation and reduce hazardous waste generation made the solution both practical and economical.

Over 3,245 gallons of LeadLock™ were used, encasing approximately 130,000 square feet of surface area.

The bright white coating, with an impressive 83% solar reflectance, also contributed to reduced cooling costs, adding an energy-efficient dimension to the preservation efforts.

A Legacy of Preservation

Midway Atoll is not just a wildlife refuge; it is a historical landmark with structures dating back to significant periods such as the initial colonization, early base construction, and the pivotal Battle of Midway during World War II.

Preserving these structures was crucial, and GLOBAL Encasement, Inc.'s proven solutions complied with numerous U.S. Historic Preservation Acts and Executive Orders.

The coatings not only met but exceeded guidelines for historic preservation, offering:

• Ease of use and cleanup: Simplifying the application process while ensuring thorough encasement.
• Long-term lead encasement: Guaranteeing protection for up to 20 years with renewable properties that allow for reapplication.
• Minimized hazardous waste: Reducing environmental impact during the application process.

Beyond Preservation: Environmental Stewardship

GLOBAL Encasement's involvement went beyond just addressing the lead contamination.

Their solutions contributed to the broader goals of the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, which include:

• Protecting endangered species: By ensuring a safer habitat from lead toxicity.
• Sustaining historical education: Facilitating the use of restored buildings for housing scientists, educators, and students who visit the atoll for research and preservation activities.
• Adhering to environmental regulations: Complying with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, which focuses on waste management and pollution prevention.

To Sum IT Up:

The successful remediation of lead contamination at Midway Atoll stands as a testament to the power of innovative, environmentally friendly solutions in historic preservation.

GLOBAL Encasement, Inc. played a crucial role in this endeavor, ensuring that the rich history and ecological integrity of the atoll are preserved for future generations.

Their work not only addressed a pressing environmental hazard but also contributed to the broader mission of historic preservation and environmental stewardship at this unique and historically significant refuge.

“The natural world is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before. We continue to lose the precious wildlife that enriches our lives.” – David Attenborough - British Broadcaster, Biologist, Natural Historian, & Author

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